Tonight my friend Liz invited me to a discussion
on 'The Faces of God" at her church, hosted by a member who teaches theology at the nearby Methodist Theological Seminary
. We began with a prayer offered by a very tall, elderly man with stumbling speech and a 'peace now' button. He was a veteran of combat
in World War II
, and during his prayer
he quoted Norman Cousins
. Cousins wrote that we have national anthem
s to rally a nation
, but there were no anthems
itself, no song that all nations sing as one to celebrate our unity
Of course no such song exists. Human unity is far more pretense than reality. We all may put our pants on the same way, but you would never think so based on the anger and violence being perpetrated in the name of Nation and God.
As a political scientist I know that sometimes God and Country are labels we place upon conflicts whose underlying roots are found in economic asymmetry and political oppression. Yet the conflicts of today do have roots in ideological and religous zealotry. The simple fact is that organizing against an outsider is far easier than uniting people for some cause. Fear is more powerful than love for most people.
Yet we are one species, living on one planet, worshipping (or not) One God. Our world is but a tiny mudball in the great cosmos, a cosmos I believe inhabited by others who share the dreams and aspirations of humanity. How can we hope to recognize their humanity when we so consistently deny our own?
We need an anthem to sing together, to make us remember that the things we share exceed the issues dividing us. We need harmony more than ever to rise up and drown out the discord.
auduster suggested to me that The Internationale would represent an anthem for the world. Of course it is explicitly Marxist which would make certain people a bit queasy. But i can think of nothing else which attempts universality. Except maybe Satisfaction.